Private companies are partnering with First Nations to invest around $1.2 billion in Alberta renewable energy projects, which create new jobs and continue with record-setting low prices for Albertans.  Alberta government photo.

Alberta renewable energy projects create enough electricity to power 300,000 homes

Investors from Alberta, other parts of Canada and France are partnering with First Nations in the province in Alberta renewable energy projects.  The Notley government says the investments add up to about $1.2 billion and will result in about 1,000 new jobs and will generate enough electricity to power about 300,000 homes.

The successful projects were made possible through the latest phase of the Alberta government’s Renewable Electricity Program and should begin construction in 2020 and be fully operational by 2021.

“Our made-in-Alberta plan is working to once again turn Alberta’s renewable energy resources into new jobs and investment in communities across the province, while producing the lowest-cost power available for Albertans,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks.

The projects include:

  • TransAlta Corporation’s 207 megawatt Windrise project which is located southwest of Fort MacLeod.
  • EDF Renewables Canada Inc’s 202-megawatt Cypress Wind Power project near Medicine Hat in partnership with the Kainai First Nation.
  • Capstone Infrastructure Corporation’s 48-megawatt Buffalo Atlee wind farms near Brooks in partnership with the Sawridge First Nation.
  • Potentia Renewables Inc’s 113-megawatt Stirling Wind project near Lethbridge in partnership with the Paul First Nation, as well as Calgary-based Greengate Power Corporation.
  • Potentia Renewables Inc’s two phases of the Jenner Wind Project near Brooks, for a total of 193 megawatts.

Phillips said “These major private investments in southern Alberta wind projects also bring important professional service opportunities to downtown Calgary and new economic opportunities for Indigenous communities, making it a win-win for all Albertans”.

Indigenous communities involved in the projects each put up at least 25 per cent of the equity.  The projects will help create jobs and new economic benefits and may also offer skills training and educational opportunities.

Chief Roy Fox of the Kainai First Nation said “We sincerely thank Premier Rachel Notley and the current government for opening the door for Indigenous partnerships with industry in this program”.  He added “this is an important first step in economic reconciliation that helps our children and their children prosper alongside other Albertans for generations to come”.

Steve Allan, executive chair at Calgary Economic Development says Calgary’s skilled professionals, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit will be integral in building the world-class projects.

“Our diversity of resources is the definition of true energy leadership and with Alberta offering the some of the strongest opportunities for renewable energy development in North America, Calgary is the location of choice for Canadian and international renewable energy developers,” said Allan.

According to the Alberta government, the five Alberta renewable energy projects will also bring an estimated $175 million in benefits to rural communities, including landowner payments and municipal revenue, over the life of the projects.

And the weighted average price of 3.9 cents per kilowatt hour for the latest round of projects is just shy of the Canadian record-low price achieved by Alberta in 2017 and continues to be among the lowest in the country, including less than half the price of a recent procurement in Ontario.

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy said “these low prices are beyond expectation, showing that our made-in-Alberta plan is getting results”.  She added “we’re making life better by creating new jobs and attracting investment from around the world, including homegrown Alberta companies”.

In total, Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program will support the development of 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity to reach a target of 30 per cent renewable energy by 2030 while creating more than 7,000 jobs for Albertans.

“The Renewable Electricity Program contract and the Windrise project enable TransAlta to proudly continue to invest in and grow in Alberta,” said Dawn Farrell, president and CEO, TransAlta Corporation.

Support for the Renewable Electricity Program is made possible by reinvesting revenues from carbon pricing under the Climate Leadership Plan. According to a press release from the Alberta government, the program is not funded from consumer power bills in any way.